Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Feeling the heat: Rumsfeld cancels trip to Germany

According to Deutsche Presse Agentur,
United States Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has cancelled a planned visit to Munich.

Rumsfeld has informed the German government via the US embassy he will not take part at the Munich Security Conference in February, conference head Horst Teltschik said.

The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights filed a complaint in December with the Federal German Prosecutor's Office against Rumsfeld accusing him of war crimes and torture in connection with detainee abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

Rumsfeld had made it known immediately after the complaint was filed that he would not attend the Munich conference unless Germany quashed the legal action.

In addition to Rumsfeld, the complaint specifies these familiar names— Notice that three of the accused are stationed in Germany. The translated 181-page complaint is available online in PDF format and offers an historical review of the events leading from 9/11 to the evolution of a policy of torture, rape and sadism.

The complaint notes—

In the post Nuremberg era “the torturer, like the pirate of old, has become hostis humanis generis, the enemy of all mankind.” Those were the words of the US federal appellate judge who in 1980 decided the Filartiga case brought by the human rights lawyer Peter Weiss and his colleagues from the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of a Paraguayan torture victim. This was the case which laid the foundation for the application of the Alien Tort Claims Act to civil suits brought in the United States by aliens for human rights violations, including those occurring in foreign countries. Since then this outstanding example of universal jurisdiction has been followed by US courts in dozens of other cases.

Meanwhile, the ACLU is accusing the Defense Dept. of ignoring further allegations of torture, and Human Rights Watch alleges that the torture is continuing under the auspices of the Iraqi government.

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